Scripture: lectionary # 104. Isaiah 55:10-11. Psalm 65: 10.11.12-13.14.
Romans 8:18-23. Matthew 13:1-23:
Matthew our Evangelist for this year gives us the parables of the kingdom.
There are almost twenty such parables in Matthew and sometimes we see the
work of the redactor or Church writer explaining the parable in a more
allegorical way. This happens whenever the parable is longer and has
several different scenes within it. This shows us that the New Testament
had a gradual development before the final product that we listen to on
Sundays or during the week. In our parable of the sower we recognize it
from the earlier written Gospel of Mark and it is probably the first
parable that Jesus spoke if we rely on the historical sequence of the four
Gospels with Mark being first, then Matthew and Luke as part of the
Synoptic Tradition leading us to the final Gospel of John which is more
symbolical and theological and does not uses parables as such. We are thus
privileged to see how Matthew takes this great parable and elaborates on it
more fully using an allegorical way of explaining what many found a bit
difficult to understand–including his own disciples.
We, as believers, know the full story of Jesus and also know quite a bit
about the Gospels and their content. When we gather however in our liturgy
on a Sunday especially we are listening to the living voice of Jesus not
the exegetical voice of the one trying to explain their meaning. As
Christians we can rely on what we know by our faith and our own learning
more and more about the Bible and the New Testament. We come to hear what
Jesus is telling us and he does so in a very attractive and dynamic manner
by using colorful parables and enticing comparisons. Such is the content
and development we hear in the parable of the Sower.
Our personal faith beging to grow and deepen by our reflecting upon these
living words of our Lord and we see that the point of the parable whether
in its simplest form or in its allegorical interpretation is meant to help
us become the good soil for the seed that the Sower sews. We do more that
listen. We reflect, assimilate, and then put into action those words that
Jesus is speaking to us. And we know that Jesus is the best of parable
speakers who is able to reach each one of present here in the Church to
hear from it what we really need to hear. Parables that are divinely
spoken do reach each person at the level where they are and in what they
really need to hear.
Interiorizing the message is done by our reverent attention and respect for
the words of Jesus which are life-giving. The Scriptures help us then to
develop our faith each time we take them up or each time we listen
attentively to the Gospel as it is read. True sometimes we are distracted
and are not interested and thus the seed of this living word of God falls
on our deaf ears and does not produce anything in us. At other times we
are led by our anxiety and fears and thus these rocky and stony obstacles
block out the sun needed for growth of the seed within our hearts. Our we
are daydreaming about a movie, a ballgame, or what we are to eat after the
Mass and thus we are choked from really allowing the word of God to enter
deeply into our hearts.
When we truly listen attentively to Jesus speaking to us through the
parables of the kingdom then we are faithful disciples who fulfill what
Isaiah has said in the first reading as God speaks through the princely
prophet: “My word shall not return to me void but shall do my will
achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11). Amen.